Kingsport Times-News: Thomas Walker earns first regional win in 45 years
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Thomas Walker earns first regional win in 45 years

Kevin Mays • May 22, 2019 at 9:59 PM

PILGRIMS KNOB — Thomas Walker baseball entered the school’s history books Wednesday, and the Pioneers did it in big fashion.

Thomas Walker scored 11 runs in the first inning on the way to a 15-3 win over Twin Valley in the opening round of the Region 1D baseball tournament at Twin Valley High School.

The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run rule after administrators from both schools agreed to end the game early.

The win gave Thomas Walker (10-12) its second regional baseball win in school history, and its first in 45 years.

“We’re pretty proud of that,” said Pioneer coach Frank Brooks.

With the win, Thomas Walker advanced to the Region 1D quarterfinals and will play at Hogoheegee District champion Chilhowie on Friday at 5 p.m.

ON A ROLL

The win was the second victory in a row for Thomas Walker and comes after the Pioneers upset Twin Springs last week in the Cumberland District consolation game to advance to the regional tournament for the first time since 2012.

“We’ve got a really good team,” said Brooks. “I know we’ve been a good team all year. There’s been times that we haven’t played well, but in the postseason these guys have really come together.

“I really think that the team is coming together unselfishly to play for the seniors. We’ve got a big senior class this year, and I feel like these guys are coming together to try to extend the year for the seniors.”

Thomas Walker has five seniors on its squad, including Wednesday’s winning pitcher, Peyton Redinger.

BIG HITS AND NUMBERS

Redinger tossed a complete-game two-hitter, while striking out 10 and giving up four walks.

The senior also went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a three-run home run in the first inning.

“I’ve just been working in the batting cage and trying to get my swing down,” he said of smacking the homer.

Redinger’s homer and a rare inside-the-park three-run homer from freshman Jason Green highlighted Thomas Walker’s first inning that saw 16 batters come to the plate.

Green’s smash landed in right field and rolled to the corner of the right field fence as he rounded the bases.

“I just ran my heart out like I always do,” Green, a transfer from Claiborne County, said.

He said coming into the program has been a positive experience for him.

“When I came up here, everyone just welcomed me. And then when I came out for baseball, it was just family,” said Green. “We all just came together at the end of the season, and we’re just trucking on.”

In addition to his homer, Green delivered a two-RBI single in the second inning to give him two hits and five RBIs on the day.

Wesley Gilliam finished 3-for-3 with an RBI for Thomas Walker, while Lucas Sturgill was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Twin Valley’s three runs came in the bottom of the second inning thanks to two walks and two singles, one from Jordan Shelton and one from Noah Rife.

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